Flexrotor's compact footprint allows for easy handling and ready installation on small vessels. The aircraft can operate in rough weather from a gunwale-mounted handling apparatus which automates retrieval, parking, fueling, and re-launch, or from a small helideck in moderate weather with no apparatus at all. It can be quickly stowed in its assembly box for safe manhandling and compact storage within the confines of shipboard spaces.
Shipboard equipment includes data links, antennas, and an operator station. This station combines video and telemetry from the aircraft with inputs from shipboard equipment such as radar, AIS, and GPS. Thus for example the operator can command the aircraft to fly to, orbit, and image a waypoint represented by a bird-radar target, or to search in its vicinity. Targets can be automatically identified and tracked, with the aircraft maneuvering, and the turret pointing, to keep a selected target centred in view. AIS can be carried by the aircraft for over-the-horizon traffic monitoring. Imagery can be viewed in real-time, or in subsequent review, on networked displays and WiFi devices throughout the ship.
Flexrotor can operate from small spaces on land, such as a tree-ringed clearing at a wildfire command post. Its folding legs allow it to operate with little support equipment, or alternatively, its automated ground-handling apparatus allows the aircraft to refuel at unattended sites between missions lasting as long at 40 hr. The aircraft and equipment needed for such a site can be brought in by pickup truck or light aircraft. In flight, the aircraft can send NTSC/PAL-quality video to an operator’s station more than 100 km away, and its broadcast can meanwhile be picked up by nearby users, such as a firefighter on-scene with an iPhone. The operator can use the turret for search and tracking, or can perform a survey while recording HD onboard for postflight review.
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